Contributed by: Kali Hassinger, CFP®
Financial Planning is more than just analyzing data and crunching numbers – it’s also about trust, communication, and (most importantly) relationships. While studying for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, all candidates are, perhaps obviously, required to focus on the technical (and necessary) knowledge to be a worthy financial planner. Upon finishing the coursework and passing the test, however, the relationship facet of a financial planning practice is left somewhat overlooked. In hopes of filling this gap, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) offers a “Residency” program for new financial planners who are looking to hone in on their interpersonal skills. I was lucky enough to be one of the attendees at this workshop in Denver, Colorado last month.
The FPA Residency program provides a space to refocus on the subtle skill of building relationships based on trust, authenticity, and mutual respect. Although I would have argued that you either innately possess these abilities or you don’t, this course ultimately changed my mind. Every skill in life can be practiced and improved upon, and communication is no different. The Residency focused on specific strategies such as how to ask the most effective questions and minimize miscommunication. It also focused on the more delicate skill of how to better notice and acknowledge emotions in others.
Financial Planning is a deeply personal matter for all of our clients. We are discussing your life’s work, your dreams, and your family. In many cases, the financial aspects of these matters aren’t discussed with anyone else, so it’s normal for clients to have a certain level of anxiety when engaging a financial planner or preparing for a meeting. Although numbers and strategies will always be a main focus, above all, we strive to provide clients with a relationship that provides them with confidence. By recognizing, understanding, and dealing with the emotions that are often incited by finances, we can better serve our clients in all aspects of financial planning. Without question, I personally benefited from the FPA Residency program. I hope to use this benefit, however, to foster effective and valued financial planning relationships in the future.
Kali Hassinger, CFP® is an Associate Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®
Raymond James is not affiliated with the Financial Planning Association. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.